The Missouri Senate passed a $24 billion state budget early this morning, following several hours of debate and closed-door negotiations.
The Senate spending plan for FY2013 directly challenges the Missouri House's position on blind pensions. By a narrow margin, Senators restored $28 million in state funding cut by the House last month, while leaving in $18 million in federal Medicaid dollars. Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says they now have more room to maneuver when negotiations with the House begin on the final version of the budget.
The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.
The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools. Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.
A tight budget has forced East St. Louis to lay off seven more employees, leaving the city's police officers without a support staff.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the latest layoffs include Police Chief Michael Floore's secretary, the department's director of community programs and a records room employee responsible for logging all of the city's tows.
The city also cut employees in the mayor's office, the city clerk's office and the city treasurer's office.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $5 million withheld from this year’s K-12 and Higher Education budgets.
The Nixon Administration says $3 million of the withheld funding will help keep school buses on the road, while just over $2 million will go toward universities and community colleges. Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the move was made because state lottery sales have been better than expected.
Missouri's revenues continue to be behind what is needed to balance the budget. January's figures show that net state revenues grew two percent over the same month last year.
The fiscal year began in July. For the first seven months of the 2012 fiscal year, Missouri's general revenues were up 1.3 percent. That is almost half the 2.7 percent growth rate that the governor's budget office says is needed to meet the budget.